Thursday, May 28, 2009
I spent my first New York summer in East Hampton with my then-boyfriend, The Captain. The Captain was born and raised in the Hamptons and therefore knew all of the private beaches, the managers of the best restaurants, and had unlimited access to former bosses’ and friends-of-friends’ boats. For our first Hamptons date, we set sail from East Hampton Point and watched the sunset while finishing off a few bottles of Veuve. That summer was full of firsts—sex on a boat, vibrators, clam digging, and oysters Rockefeller. But soon, summer came to an end. As my tan faded, so did my affection for The Captain. By mid-October, I was back to single life in the city, wreaking my typical weekend havoc on the Upper East Side.
The following summer I was dating The Attorney, who, at that point, was still in law school and spending his summer at home in Long Island with his family. While it was lovely having his mother cook us pancakes every morning and laundering our beach towels every night, I yearned for the night life of the Hamptons and a household where binge drinking and smoking cigarettes until 2:00 A.M. was acceptable. Little did I know what the following summer would bring.
My third New York summer was a dose of reality. I was single and stranded in the city, as both The Captain and The Attorney had become mere skeletons in my closet of relationships. Luckily, Jenny Saurs came to my rescue one hot weekend in July. Her boyfriend, Joey Coats, and twelve of his single friends had a house at the Jersey Shore. Beach, booze, and single boys—this sounded like Cannes with Jay-Z and Beyonce to the girl who had just spent four consecutive weekends holed up at Mad River in ninety-degree heat.
Three hours into my weekend, I was able to corroborate all stereotypes that I had heard regarding the Guidos, hair gel and gold chains that comprise the majority of the Jersey Shore, including Joey Coats’ housemates. While Joey Coats was a heavy-drinking, New York Giants loving Italian with a Masters degree, his twelve single friends all happened to be firemen from Staten Island, who relentlessly reminded each other of how much they could drink, lift, and f*ck more than whichever fireman friend happened to be standing next to them at that moment.
While many girls fantasize about strong, muscular, sweaty men rescuing them from a burning building, I prefer to romanticize about a man in a business suit at a board meeting. Unfortunately for me, this was not apparent to the firemen. Before I could even get down two drinks, they were crushing beer cans against their heads and ripping off the front porch in an effort to prove their masculinity.
Finally, we headed to D’Jais, where I was hoping to meet some nice gentlemen who didn’t say “aks” instead of the grammatically correct “ask”. But unfortunately for my naïve, un-Jersey-Shore-educated ass, I only encountered more tanning bed-ridden, wife beater sporting, rum-and-coke drinkers with frosted tips and waxed eyebrows. After I got humped by a midget during T-Pain’s “Buy You a Drank,” I looked at Jenny Saurs with pleading eyes while disinfecting my entire backside with Purell. By this point in the night, Joey Coats was drooling on himself and would be of no use to Jenny for at least seven hours, so she grabbed my arm and dragged me to the nearest pizza stand.
That night I slept on a plastic mattress with no sheets and my extra pair of jeans as a pillow. A complete stranger snored the entire night next to me while I hugged the edge of the bed, willing the morning to come. Just a few hours after the sun came up, Jenny and I were dragged to brunch—a brunch where I witnessed a number of men drink beer from their sweaty shoe. Apparently, this was a Jersey Shore tradition for some, but this was a deal breaker for me.
Eventually, I made it back to Manhattan and vowed to never enter the state of New Jersey again. So what will this summer bring? Undoubtedly, a few long nights at Mad River and hopefully, a few weekends out East—it’s all a single girl stranded in the city can ask for until Labor Day rolls around.
Monday, May 18, 2009
I shimmied my way through the crowd towards the bar and saddled up next to a tall, dark-haired, large-nosed man in a white suit. As I was about to signal to the bartender that I needed a drink, I was abruptly knocked into by a random passerby. Because I had not quite broken in the unnecessary pair of heels that I had bought four hours earlier with part of my rent money, I lost my balance and went plunging towards the man in the white suit, piercing the top of his foot with my stiletto while spilling his glass of wine with my flailing right arm.
“Not my Ferragamo’s!” he shrieked in a thick Italian accent.
I looked down and was shocked to find a pair of turquoise python loafers staring back at me. After a brief moment of speechless shock, I began incessantly apologizing to this flamboyant Italian man for dirtying his designer shoes. Of course I had stepped on the one pair of shoes in the bar that cost more than my rent, so I began to contemplate running out of the bar and never looking back. I wasn’t ready to endure the wrath of a hot-tempered, python-wearing Italian man, and I sure as hell wasn’t keen on joining a prostitution ring in order to pay for a pair of shoes. My contemplations were quickly interrupted by a man barreling his way through the crowd, heading toward the Italian and me.
“For f*ck’s sake, what the f*ck is going on here? We’ve been here five minutes and you’re already rat arsed, harassing girls, and showing off your faggot shoes!” the man bellowed in a British lilt to the Italian.
“Listen faccia di merda, these shoes are worth more than your ugly face.” the Italian retorted as he dusted off his shoe for the fourteenth time, trying to remove the smudge that no longer existed.
The Englishman then turned me and said, “Hello, beautiful. The name’s Robbie. Don’t mind this wanker and his nancy-boy shoes. Can I buy you a drink?”
While the Englishman wasn’t particularly good looking with his shaved head, average height, and pale skin, his accent was very charming and I had yet to check my “Across the Pond” box. And considering that I most likely would not have any money left to buy myself a drink for at least four months after paying for the Italian’s replacement pair of Ferragamo’s, I gladly accepted his drink offer.
A few glasses of Sauvignon Blanc later, I had made amends with the Italian and was downright smitten with the Englishman. The Italian’s name was Marco and surprisingly, he was heterosexual. Robbie the Englishman was a tennis pro from London and lived on 82nd and Third. Although I could only understand about 65% of our conversation due to their thick accents that my Ohio ears were not accustomed to, I was very pleased with my new, international friends.
The Italian finally had his fill for the night and headed home, leaving the Englishman and me at the bar for one more drink. A kiss at the bar turned into a full-on makeout session on the corner of 73rd and First, which then led to a heated cab ride to Robbie’s apartment. Before I knew it, the lights were off, Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” was blasting on his stereo, and I was checking off that “Across the Pond” box.
In the morning I woke up with a wicked hangover and the lyrics “it’s been seven hours and fifteen days…” replaying in my head. I left the Englishman’s apartment wondering if I would ever see him again, and also wondering why he chose Sinead O’Connor as his sex soundtrack. Perhaps Sinead was making a comeback in England just like the New Kids on the Block were trying to do here.
Later that day I got a call from the Englishman inviting me to meet him that night at Reve for drinks, the restaurant where Marco was the executive chef. I headed to Reve around 9:00pm once I was fully recovered from my hangover and found Robbie waiting for me at the bar. Soon thereafter, the kitchen closed and Marco hung up his apron for the night, and the three of us headed to Stir for a few more nightcaps.
We walked up First Avenue, the Englishman and I hand-in-hand, and Marco sauntering beside us in purple suede shoes and bright yellow chinos chain smoking. Suddenly, a woman in sweatpants and a baseball cap came running at us. We weren’t even taking up the whole sidewalk, so I was a little confused why she looked so angry. I glanced over at Robbie, who looked like a deer caught in headlights and he quickly let go of my hand. Stupefied, I turned to Marco, who grabbed my arm and started running.
We got to the corner and I turned around to find the running woman with the crazy eyes screaming at Robbie in the middle of the sidewalk.
“Are you sleeping with her? Is that the girl you’re sleeping with? She has f*cking brown hair. You will regret this, Robbie. You f*cking asshole. Brown hair! Really? This is unbelievable!”
It took me a moment to realize that Crazy Eyes was referring to me as the girl with the brown hair. Since she was dressed like she had just come from softball practice, I couldn’t tell what color her hair was underneath her hat, but I was extremely relieved she was not carrying a bat.
Crazy Eyes then turned around and spotted Marco and me on the corner. She screamed “whore” in our general direction and before she could take another step towards us, Marco again grabbed my arm, dragged me across the street and shoved me through the door of the nearest bar to safety.
“What the hell was that?” I breathlessly asked Marco, who was leaning against a bar stool and wheezing, due to his pack-a-day Marlboro Reds habit.
“Robbie’s ex-girlfriend. Last time she a-used umbrella on him,” he explained in between gasps. “She does not a-want him with another girl. You know, she wants to a-stop his penis.”
“You mean cock block him?” I could hardly understand this man’s dialogue as it was, and his panting was not making his English any clearer.
“Ah yes, the cock block-a!” he breathlessly exclaimed.
“Well that’s a hell of a cock block.” I muttered, knowing I would never listen to Sinead O’Connor the same again. But unpredictably enough, that night on the First Avenue sidewalk between 72nd and 73rd would not be the last time I encountered the Englishman…
Monday, May 11, 2009
Although I was still a bit skeptical about anyone who traveled from another burrough to meet twenty-five complete strangers for $35, I was ready to give Brooklyn Joe at least two drinks more worth of a chance. Those two drinks led to an un-recallable number of drinks and a drunken suggestion to head across the street to Wicker Park for a few more. A Ketel One on the rocks and a brief session of tonsil hockey later, I had become speed dating’s newest aficionado.
When we parted ways on the corner of 83rd and Third, I was certain I would see Brooklyn Joe at least one more time. As predicted, Sunday morning rolled around and I got an invitation from Brooklyn Joe to hang out—in Brooklyn. A $30 cab ride soon thereafter and I found myself in the unchartered neighborhood of Park Slope. While I could have drunk champagne and eaten quesadillas all day at Blockhead’s for less, I was willing to leave my zip code to see how things could potentially pan out with Brooklyn Joe.
Upon my arrival, Brooklyn Joe introduced me to his two roommates—one had received a blow job in a Lower East Side bar’s bathroom stall from a hooker the night before, and had spent the greater part of his day showering with bleach. The other roommate had a bad habit of standing naked in his bedroom while peering out the window into his neighbors’ apartments. Seemingly, Brooklyn Joe’s dog, Simon, did not have any bad habits, other than some typical crotch sniffing. I would gladly endure a little nuzzle in my muzzle from Simon over having to continue a remarkably awkward conversation with either of Brooklyn Joe’s roommates.
We settled onto his bed to watch a movie, engaged in some light conversation, and most importantly, kept it PG-13 (these sort of details make my mother somewhat more at ease). For my trek back to civilization, I actually used public transportation, which is quite a rarity for me on a weekend. While I was very proud of myself for 1) behaving like a proper lady; 2) branching out to another burrough; and 3) using public transportation, I spent my ride back wondering if Brooklyn Joe was just another Average Joe.
As I exited the subway station and emerged above ground, I received a text message from Hershey. How he had not given up after my blatantly obvious cold shoulder treatment, I would never know. But according to my sister, I had been too harsh on Hershey for his dirty talking, ass-smacking ways. This coming from a girl who had just gotten her first vibrator at age thirty-one, I decided that I should perhaps reconsider what Hershey could potentially bring to my table.
The only way for me to properly determine which gentleman would prevail for future time in my datebook was to do a comparative Facebook profile analysis. Brooklyn Joe’s profile was ostensibly average and I had already spent some time perusing it before I left my zip code for his, so I clicked my way over to Hershey’s profile. As I was scrolling through his pictures, I came across a photo album titled “Mini Me.” He had told me all about his nephew the same night that he had spanked his way into my bedroom, so I decided to see what this little nugget looked like. It wasn’t until picture number three that I realized his “Mini Me” wasn’t actually his nephew but rather his son.
After an aggressively inquisitive text message to Hershey regarding his fatherhood status, he responded with “Yes I am. A proud one too.” In my book proud fathers usually disclose this type of information, but apparently he didn’t have time for that conversation to come up in between his dirty pillow talking lines.
So here I was on a Sunday night, deciding between courting a speed dater or becoming a step-mother. Although I was a fabulous aunt, I wasn’t sure my alcohol intake and recent strip club visits would translate well into motherhood. And although I was an adventure-seeking young woman, Brooklyn was just a little too far from home base. Time to focus on finding a child-free, independent-living, creepy-roommate-free Manhattanite. Any takers?
Sunday, May 03, 2009
This past Thursday I decided to try a new approach to dating on the Upper East Side. Rather than the usual tactic of hitting up a happy hour or lingering at Mad River after a bartending shift to see if anyone notable materializes after seven or eight beers, I decided to take on the world of speed dating. Never one to shy away from trying new things, I decided that speed dating couldn’t be any worse of decision than some I’ve made after a few dirty martinis on a Friday night at 2:00 a.m. It was time efficient and cost effective, which is exactly what a girl with multiple jobs in a recession needs. My only concern was the caliber of my fellow speed daters—but based on the quality of men in the non-speed dating world, I decided they couldn’t be that much more inferior. If I could handle dirty talkers, sex addicts, and Astorians sporting JC Penny jeans, I could surely manage a handful of speed daters.
I arrived at Mad River around 7:15 p.m. for my speed dating debut. I’d had a long day at work, with no time to eat dinner, let alone properly primp. My nails were chipped from playing softball the night before, and my hands were raw from a Purell-ing frenzy that would hopefully evade me from any Swine Flu contamination. I found a spot at the end of the bar so I could observe both my competition and my potential prey. I watched as the bar filled with guys under 5’7”, nervously ordering their first drink, with darting eyes and shaking hands. I immediately ordered a shot of Jack and contemplated pulling an Irish Exit. Soon the girls began to file in, all in groups of at least two. Many looked as if they were coming to their first Homecoming dance, nervously giggling with done-up hair and bad make-up. I was definitely the only female flying solo, and most definitely the only girl taking shots of whiskey. This was starting to feel like a bad episode of The Bachelor.
As I ordered a second beer, I decided to jot down a few questions to start each date with. I wasn’t shy by any means, but I was not a fan of awkward silences, and wanted to be prepared with at least a few conversation fillers. My list included the following questions:
1. Have you experienced any symptoms of the Swine Flu in the past twenty-four hours?
2. Do you do drugs? a. If no, why not? b. If yes, which ones?
3. Have you ever speed dated before?
4. Do you prefer cats or dogs?
5. When was the last time you got laid?
Before the festivities got underway, I noticed a group of somewhat normal looking guys to my right. Their names were Jerry, Burly, and Joe, and they lived in Brooklyn. They also happened to be newbies to the speed dating scene. The cutest one of the trio, Brooklyn Joe, claimed to only have come as a supportive crutch for his friends. But let’s face it, no one pays $35 to come to the Upper East Side all the way from Brooklyn just to play wingman—Brooklyn Joe was looking for a piece and I only hoped that I would get my three minutes in heaven with him sooner rather than later.
My first date was with a man who looked like the cousin of Mr. Tumnus from Narnia. While he had not experienced any symptoms of the Swine Flu and was intrigued to read my Sex & the Upper East Side articles, I was certain he would start chewing on a can, Jim Brewer-Goat Boy style, at any moment. Dates two through nine included a flute player, a Lebanese dentist, a Polish engineer and four IT guys. None of them did drugs, two liked cats, and I didn’t even need to ask if they had gotten laid recently.
Then I came across Burly, one of the Brooklynites I had met before the event started. He donned a large, gold chain with a cross and was thrilled to hear that I wrote a column about sex.
“Yo, that’s like mad cool you write those articles.” he sputtered.
“Thanks so much, Burly. Where do you live in Brooklyn? And what do you do?” I asked.
“Well, you know, I’m a mechanic, which is like, mad fun. I live with my moms right now, just to save money and stuff” he answered.
Little did poor Burly know the fact that he still lived with his “moms” was not something any girl wanted to hear on a first date from a man over the age of twenty-five.
Next was Brooklyn Joe, who thankfully lacked a gold chain or mom-roommate. He had a dog, worked in finance, and had a witty sense of humor that didn’t take offense to my Swine Flu and sex history questions. Following Joe was Rich, who I found out was a probation officer after I asked if he had any drug habits and if he liked to drink every night of the week. I told him to have some of his probates call me after they were off of house arrest, assuming they had to be more fun than Rich himself.
After an exhausting forty-five minutes of fifteen dates, there was an intermission intended for some additional mingling time with your dates that had gone well. I worked my way through the crowd to find Brooklyn Joe. Since I had nothing to lose and was near the closest exit in the bar, I laid it out on the line for Brooklyn Joe.
“Listen Joe, I’m over this whole speed dating thing. I had fifteen dates with Geek Squard degenerates, cat-lovers and one goat. I don’t need to be here and I really don’t think you do either. So do you want to go downstairs and have a conversation that lasts for more than ninety seconds or what?” I asked with uninhibited conviction.
Lucky for me, Brooklyn Joe said yes, and we headed downstairs with our fellow speed daters looking on. As they always say, don’t knock it until you try it (bestiality, hot dog eating contests, and Russian hookers excluded).